Can Christians Drink Beer?

I ran across this article recently and found it very interesting. It is on the website for Mars Hill Bible Church in Seattle, WA and is an excerpt from Mark Driscoll’s book, The Radical Reformission: Reaching Out Without Selling Out.

I know that there are many different views amongst the Church regarding Christ-followers consuming alcohol and I have gotten in some debates with some of them. But I think this article gives a very interesting perspective and sheds some light onto this subject.


I know that there are many teenagers that read my blog and I want to let you know that it is a sin for you to consume alcohol until you reach the legal drinking age of 21.


“Do you suppose that abuses are eliminated by destroying the object which is abused? Men can go wrong with wine and women. Shall we then prohibit and abolish women?”
– Martin Luther

“Mmmm . . . beer.” – Homer Simpson

Historically, God’s people have greatly enjoyed alcohol. In the European world one of the most Christian drinks was beer. Saint Gall was a missionary to the Celts and renowned brewer. After Charlemagne’s reign the church because Europe’s exclusive brewer. When a young woman was to marry her church made special bridal ale for her, from which we derive our word bridal. Pastor John Calvin’s annual salary package included upwards of 250 gallons of wine to be enjoyed by he and his guests. Martin Luther explained the entire reformation as “…while I sat still and drank beer with Philip and Amsdorf, God dealt the papacy a mighty blow.” Luther’s wife Catherine was a skilled brewer and his love letters to her when they were apart lamented his inability to drink her beer. When the Puritan’s landed on Plymouth Rock the first permanent building they erected was the brewery.

As feminism grew in America during the turn of the 20th century the women’s suffrage and prohibition movements were the practical results of a feminine piety that came to also dominate the church as more women became pastors and the church became more feminine. Some denominations began to condemn alcohol as sinful and the Methodist pastor Dr. Thomas Welch created the very “Christian” Welch’s grape juice to replace communion wine in 1869. The marriage of Christianity and feminism helped to create a dry nation that put out of business all but the largest brewers who were able to survive on near beer and root beer which explains why today American beer is largely mass produced, watered down, light on calories, and feminine in comparison to rich and dark European beers. The resurgence of micro-brews is helping to overcome the great loss and resurrect the art of brewing.

Lastly, some Christians foolishly argue that such terms as new wine and mixed wine in the Bible speak of non-alcoholic wine. But, new wine can still intoxicate according to Scripture (Isaiah 24:7; Hosea 4:11; Joel 1:5), and mixed wine refers to special wines where various wines are mixed together and/or mixed with spices and does not refer to wine cut with water (Psalm 75:8; Song of Songs 8:2). God refers to pouring out the wine of His mixed wine on His enemies which does not mean He will dilute justice (Psalm 75:8). The only time such a practice is mentioned in the Bible is in regards to merchants who cut wine with to rob customers (Isaiah 1:22). The Bible speaks of grape juice (Numbers 6:3) and if God meant to speak of non-alcoholic wine he would have used that word to avoid confusion.

You can read the full article here and see more Scripture references. It is their churches official stance in regards to alcohol.

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Kim, father to Hannah & Caleb, and the connections pastor at The River Church. The thoughts expressed here are my own and not The River Church's.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *